Two Songs From: Johanna Glaza

Photo by Agne Monti

The first polar vortex of the season arrived in New York yesterday, bringing with it icy temperatures and blustery winds. Like it or not, winter is here. And in the spirit of all things frosty and beautiful, here are two songs from Johanna Glaza: Paper Widow and Winter Song, due out at the end of November, which embody, in sound, all of the best parts of the season: windows full of delicate frost fronds, the smell of fresh pine, the crunch of new snow.

Dead Professional, Hard Hard Hard

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Hard Hard Hard, by Dead Professional (John Harouff) is the sort of record that sneaks up on you. A bass line gets lodged in your head one day; you find yourself humming along with a melody the next; the day after that a particular lyric strikes home. For example, I was just briefly arrested by I can be your baby / or I can play the sitter from I Can Deliver, which has both sharp edges and Replacements-style catchy grooves: Another one I’m fond of is Bad Memory, because it’s a love song, if love songs were written by sharks:

Late Night Listening: Mt. Wolf, Red

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A home for things that might be fleeting, might be soothing, might be weird, might be soothing and weird. The blogging equivalent of sitting in the garage twiddling radio knobs just to see what might be out there. After an extended hiatus, Mt. Wolf, from London, England via Guernsey, Dorset, and Brighton, have decided to be a band again, and come back with Red, which is something of a haunted lullaby. It is but a taste of what will come in the new year.

Three Songs From: Vinnie Ferra

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One of the many joys of Soundcloud is that you can press play on one song and then, left unchecked, it will play affiliated tunes. Sometimes that’s more work by the same artists, other times it’s other artists on the same label, other times it seems kind of random. My Vinnie Ferra Voyage of Discovery was the first kind of situation: I listened to his current single, called God Forbid, and then it gave me his previous work. This is God Forbid, which . . . I am going to be blunt, I’m not super excited about. It showcases his range, and objectively speaking it’s pretty, but it didn’t grab me and make me want to listen to it again. On the other hand, Destroying Me, which popped up next: yeah this I’m into, because I’m always here for songs on the theme of “I love you and it is going to drive me around the twist” especially when I can sing along: The third song I listened to was Bad For Business, from Man vs. Machine (2010), and at that point, I was in. This is good stuff.

Late Night Listening: Unfathomed of Abyss, Arisen Upon Oblivion

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A home for things that might be fleeting, might be soothing, might be weird, might be soothing and weird. The blogging equivalent of sitting in the garage twiddling radio knobs just to see what might be out there. Because sometimes, twiddling knobs in the virtual garage, you get some static followed by atmospheric creaking followed by a roar straight from the dungeon. Or: “symphonic black metal” may initially sound like a contradiction in terms, but I promise it isn’t. Unfathomed of the Abyss (Kevin Price) spent 14 years (!) working on Arisen Upon Oblivion and the result is a complex collection of sounds, some delicate, others more like a sledgehammer. That said, while it’s heavy, it isn’t suffocating. For example, there’s To Unequal the Balance of the Cosmos, the first song on the record, which is fourteen minutes long, but not one single minute drags: Arisen Upon Oblivion by Unfathomed of Abyss And then there’s The Figment Unadulated, the second song, which grinds on the bottom but soars at the top, and is what I would use to score a scene with a scrappy crew exploring a mysteriously abandoned spaceship: Arisen Upon Oblivion by Unfathomed of Abyss And the rest … Continue reading

Covers of Note: Strangers, Stay

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So here is a story I have to tell you about Stay by Shakespeare’s Sister: The first time I heard it I was in the Arizona desert with my youth group, about three-fourths of the way through a week-long mission trip. We were out driving around looking at rocks, or something, I don’t remember, but it had been a long week. Tempers were fraying. Teeth were being firmly clenched. Required daily notes of affirmation to each other (yes, really) were becoming more difficult to compose. But we had the radio on, a) because it was 1992 and b) I think choosing one tape or CD to listen to might have been the last straw for all of us, and – this song came on: It was like someone had kicked down the door to a sex dungeon and it was full of fresh air. I didn’t quite understand what all was going on in there, but it surely was better than a car full of my seething peers. I bought their CD as soon as I got home (as well as a Patty Smyth CD; I was looking for Patti Smith and missed) and had that song on repeat for … Continue reading

Fleeting Youth Records: Blooming

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Blooming, the new compilation from Fleeting Youth Records, is 33 songs/90+ minutes of occasionally fuzzy goodness. There really is something in there for everyone. Here are a couple tunes to whet your appetites: Simple Syrup by Lurve: deceptively sweet, surprisingly heavy on the bottom end. Sloppy Joes by Vomitface (nice name, guys): perfect for if you enjoy a good heavy metal headbang two-step but cannot be having with ogre roar. I’m swaying slowly in my chair as I type. Philadelphia by Mumblr: Because they are my faaaaavorite, okay, and I’m more fond of this song than the city it’s about. They’ve written an anthem for one complex, gritty, sometimes ugly place but it’s universally applicable: your place might be a hot mess but it is your place, where-ever it is. Tidal Grave by Assault Shaker: This one has, I think, I little bit more of a pop-industrial edge, what with the opening sample and droning vocals. But it’s good stuff.